A/C - An abbreviation for air conditioner or air conditioning.
A/C Condenser - The outside fan unit of the air conditioning system. It removes the heat from the freon gas, "turns" the gas back into a liquid, and pumps the liquid back to the coil in the furnace.
A/C Disconnect - The main electrical ON-OFF switch near the A/C condenser.
ADA - See Americans with Disabilities Act
Aerator - The round screened screw-on tip of a sink spout. It mixes water and air for a smooth flow.
Aggregate - A mixture of sand and stone and a major component of concrete.
Air Space - The area between insulation facing and interior of exterior wall coverings. Normally a 1" air gap.
Allowance - A sum of money set aside in the construction contract for items which have not been selected and specified in the construction contract. For example, selection of tile as a flooring may require an allowance for an underlayment material, or an electrical allowance which sets aside an amount of money to be spent on electrical fixtures.
Americans with Disabilities Act - The Americans with Disabilities Act which gives civil rights protection to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, State and local government services, and telecommunications.
Amortization - A payment plan by which a loan is reduced through monthly payments of principal and interest.
Amperage - See Ampere
Ampere - A unit of electrical current or volume--see "Voltage." Most homes have an electrical service 'entrance' package of 125 or 200 amps. Some older homes have 60 or 100 amp 'entrances'.
Amps - See Ampere
Anchor Bolt - Bolt to secure a wooden sill plate to concrete, masonry floor or wall.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR) - Annual cost of credit over the life of a loan, including interest, service charges, points, loan fees, mortgage insurance, and other items.
Appraisal - An expert valuation of property.
Apron - A trim board that is installed beneath a window sill.
Architect - One who has completed a course of study in building and design, and is licensed by the state as an architect. One who draws up plans and sometimes supervises the construction of homes.
Area Walls - Corrugated metal or concrete barrier walls installed around a basement window to hold back the earth.
Assessment - A tax levied on a property, or a value placed on the worth of a property.
Assumption - Allows a buyer to assume responsibility for an existing loan instead of getting a new loan. The assumption may have to be approved by the lender.
Astragal - A molding, attached to one of a pair of swinging double doors, against which the other door strikes.
Attic Access - An opening that is placed in the drywalled ceiling of a home providing access to the attic. Sometimes found in halls, closets or garages.
Attic Ventilators - Screened openings in houses to allow for ventilation of an attic space.
Awning Windows - Single level windows that tilt outward and up.
Back Charge - Billings for work performed or costs incurred by one party that, in accordance with the agreement, should have been performed or incurred by the party to whom billed. Owners bill back charges to general contractors, and general contractors bill back charges to subcontractors. Examples of back charges include charges for cleanup work or to repair something damaged by another subcontractor, such as a tub chip or broken window.
Backfill - The replacement of excavated earth into a trench around or against a basement or crawlspace foundation wall.
Backing - Frame lumber installed between the wall studs to give additional support for drywall or an interior trim related item, such as handrail brackets, cabinets, and towel bars. In this way, items are screwed and mounted into solid wood rather than weak drywall that may allow the item to break loose from the wall. Carpet backing holds the pile fabric in place.
Backout - Work the framing contractor does after the mechanical (heating, plumbing & electrical) subcontractors finish their phase of work at the rough stage prior to insulating to get the home ready for a municipal frame inspection. Generally, the framing contractor repairs anything disturbed by others and completes all framing necessary to pass a Rough Frame Inspection.
Baffles - Device to help achieve a ventilation space between insulation and roof sheathing. It helps assure air flow from the eave vents in attics and cathedral ceilings.
Ballast - A transformer that steps up the voltage in a florescent lamp.
Balloon - A loan that has a series of monthly payments with the remaining balance due in a large lump sum payment at the end.
Balloon Framed Wall - Framed walls (generally over 10' tall) that run the entire vertical length from the floor sill plate to the roof. This is done to eliminate the need for a gable end truss.
Balusters - Vertical members in a railing used between a top rail and bottom rail or the stair treads. Sometimes referred to as "pickets" or "spindles."
Balustrade - The rail, posts and vertical balusters along the edge of a stairway or elevated walkway.
Band Joist - Vertical member that forms the perimeter of a floor system in which the floor joists tie in. Also known as the rim joist.
Barge - A horizontal beam rafter that supports shorter rafters.
Barge Board - A decorative board covering the projecting rafter (fly rafter) of the gable end. At the cornice, this member is a fascia board.
Barrel Vault - A vaulted ceiling of semi-circular shape, creating a dome-like appearance.
Baseboard - Any board or molding found at the bottom of an interior wall.
Basement Foundation - A basement is a usable foundation that typically has ceiling heights of 8' and is often finished off as living or storage space.
Bay Window - A window that projects outward in a curve.
Bi-Level - A home that has two levels. Typically, a garage or storage area is situated in the lower level and the home in the upper section.
Board Foot - Measurement of lumber that is the equivalent of 144 cubic inches.
Bonus Room - A room with no specifically designated function, unlike a living room, bedroom, or kitchen. Is not included in the initial square footage.
Bottom Plate - The lowest horizontal member of a wall which rests on the rough floor, to which the studding is nailed.
Braced Framing - A construction method in two-story homes in which the frame is reinforced with posts and braces.
Brick Veneer - A vertical facing of brick laid against and fastened to sheathing of a framed wall or tile wall construction.
Buck - Often used in reference to rough frame opening members. Door bucks used in reference to metal door frame. See Window Buck.
Builder's Risk Insurance - Insurance coverage on a construction project during construction, including extended coverage that may be added for the contract for the customer's protections.
Building Code - A comprehensive set of laws that controls the construction or remodeling of a home or other structure.
Built-Up Roof - A roofing composed of three to five layers of asphalt felt laminated with coal tar, pitch, or asphalt. The top is finished with crushed slag or gravel. Generally used on flat or low-pitched roofs.
Bull Nose Drywall - Rounded drywall corners.
Bundle - A package of shingles. Normally, there are 3 bundles per square and 27 shingles per bundle.
Cantilever - A projecting structure supported on one end, such as a balcony.
Cavity - The empty space between studs or joists to place insulation batts.
Central Air Conditioning - A system which uses ducts to distribute cooling and/or dehumidified air to more than one room or uses pipes to distribute chilled water to heat exchangers in more than one room, and which is not plugged into an electrical convenience outlet.
Circuit Breaker - A device which looks like a switch and is usually located inside the electrical panel or circuit breaker box. It is designed to (1) shut of the power to portions or all of the house and (2) to limit the amount of power flowing through a circuit (measured in amperes). 110 volt household circuits require a fuse or circuit breaker with a rating of 15 or a maximum of 20 amps. '220' volt circuits may be designed for higher amperage loads e.g. a hot water heater may be designed for a 30 amp load and would therefore need a 30 amp fuse or breaker. also see GFI
Clerestory - An outside wall of a room or building that rises above an adjoining roof and contains windows.
Closed Loop - A system in which each component is connected to the next component with the last component being connected to the original device. Forms a complete circle.
Coffered Ceiling - A ceiling with recessed square panels, bordered with trim for ornamental purposes.
Collar Beam - A horizontal tie beam in a roof truss that connects two opposite rafters at a level considerably above the wall plate.
Concrete Block - A hollow concrete 'brick' often 8" x 8" x 16" in size. Often used in low rise commercial and some residential construction. The original design and use is attributed to the architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Conduction - Conduction is the direct flow of heat through a material resulting from physical contact. The transfer of heat by conduction is caused by molecular motion in which molecules transfer their energy to adjoining molecules and increase their temperature.
Conduit - A tube or duct for enclosing electric wires or other cables.
Construction Documents - All drawings, specifications and addenda associated with a specific construction project.
Convection - Convection is the transfer of heat in fluid or air, caused by the movement of the heated air or fluid itself. In a building space, warm air rises and cold air settles to create a convection loop and is termed free convection. Convection can also be caused mechanically by a fan and is termed forced convection.
Cornice - Overhang of a pitched roof, usually consisting of a fascia board, a soffit and appropriate trim moldings.
Crawlspace Foundation - The space between the ground and the first floor of a home, usually no higher than four feet.
Crawlspace Vent - An opening to allow the passage of air through the unexcavated area under a first floor. Ideally there should be at least two vents per crawlspace.
Cross Bracing - A system of bracing by the use of ties. Typically used between floor joists to prevent them from twisting.
Crown Molding - A molding used on cornice or wherever an interior angle is to be covered, especially at the roof and wall corner.
Daisy Chain - A wiring scheme in which device A is wired to device B, device B is wired to device C, etc. The last device is normally wired to a switch or circuit breaker.
Dentil - One of a series of small projecting rectangular blocks forming a molding under an overhang, most common in colonial-style homes.
Dormer Windows - Dormers are located on the second floor and project or extend out through the roof to provide window space.
Draw - The amount of progress billings on a contract that is currently available to a contractor under a contract with a fixed payment schedule.
Drive Under - A style of home where the garage is located in a basement.
Duct - A rigid metal or flexible insulated tube, designed to deliver air to and from a furnace or other air-handling unit.
Ductwork - A system of large tubes, pipes or channels (ducts) designed to deliver air to and from a furnace or other air-handling unit.
Eave Vent - Vent opening located in the soffit under the eaves of a house to allow the passage of air through the attic and out the roof vents.
Eaves - The projecting overhang at the lower edge of a roof.
Egress - A means of exiting the home. An egress window is required in every bedroom and basement. Normally a 4' X 4' window is the minimum size required.
Electrical Rough - Work performed by the Electrical Contractor after the plumber and heating contractor are complete with their phase of work. Normally all electrical wires, and outlet, switch, and fixture boxes are installed (before insulation).
Electrical Service Panel - Refers to the high-voltage electrical system's first point of entry into a home beyond the meter.
Electricity -Provides power for lighting, appliances, and heating & cooling in a home. A meter records usage for billing by your local utility.
Elevations - The exterior view of a home design that shows the position of the house relative to the grade of the land.
Emittance - Emittance refers to the ability of the surface to emit radiant energy. Emissivity ranges from 0 to 1 and a lower value indicates a reflective surface with a low level of radiation.
Entry Box - See Electrical Service Entry
Face Staple - Stapling facing flange to the front side of a stud or rafter, along the 1½" dimension.
Faced Insulation - Insulation with an attached vapor retarder (kraft paper or foil-backed paper).
Fascia - Horizontal boards attached to rafter/truss ends at the eaves and along gables. Roof drain gutters are attached to the fascia.
Fiber Glass Insulation - An energy-efficient glass fiber product manufactured by Owens Corning to ensure the best thermal and noise control performance available.
Flashing - The building component used to connect portions of a roof, deck, or siding material to another surface such as a chimney, wall, or vent pipe. Often made out of various metals, rubber or tar and is mostly intended to prevent water entry.
Flat Ceiling - A ceiling with no change in elevation.
Foil-Faced Vapor Retarder - Created by coating a foil-backed paper with a thin layer of asphalt adhesive. The coated side of the foil-backed paper is then applied to the un-faced insulation material. The asphalt adhesive bonds the foil-backed paper and the insulation together.
Footing - Trenches of poured concrete around the perimeter of the house and below each pier or column that supports and distributes the weight of the house to the ground.
Forced Air Heating - A common form of heating with natural gas, propane, oil or electricity as a fuel. Air is heated in the furnace and distributed through a set of metal ducts to various areas of the house.
Framer - The carpenter contractor that installs the lumber and erects the frame, flooring system, interior walls, backing, trusses, rafters, decking, installs all beams, stairs, soffits and all work related to the wood structure of the home. The framer builds the home according to the blueprints and must comply with local building codes and regulations.
Furring Strip - Flat piece of lumber used to build up an irregular framing to an even surface, either the leveling of a part of a wall or ceiling.
Fuse - A device often found in older homes designed to prevent overloads in electrical lines. See Circuit Breakers.
Gable End Wall - The triangular end of an exterior wall above the eaves formed under a gable roof.
Gable Roof - A roof that consists of two sloping planes that meet at the ridge or peak. The planes are supported at their ends by triangular, upward extensions of walls known as gables.
Gable Vent - A louver mounted in the top of the gable to allow the passage of air through the attic.
GFCI - See Ground Fault Current Interrupter
GFI -See Ground Fault Current Interrupter
Girders - Crossbeams that support floor joists.
Glass Fiber - Glass in a strand form. The ingredients are essentially the same that go into any glass product such as a window pane or drinking glass.
Glued Laminated Beam (Glulam) - A structural beam composed of wood laminations or lams. The lams are pressure bonded with adhesives to attain a typical thickness of 1 ½" . (It looks like 5 or more 2 X 4's are glued together).
Grade - Ground level, or the elevation at any given point. Also the work of leveling dirt. Also the designated quality of a manufactured piece of wood.
Ground Fault Current Interrupter - An electrical device used to prevent injury from contact with faulty electrical appliances and faulty wiring - electrical shocks. GFIs should not be confused with AFIs, the later are designed to prevent electrical fires. GFIs are required in new home bathrooms, kitchen, garage, out of doors and in other locations where one might be in contact with a grounded surface or body of water and an electrical appliance. Most GFI's are located in the receptacle itself or a curcuit breaker and can be identified by the presence of a 'test' and a 'reset' button.
Header - A crossbeam above a window or door.
Heat Pump - A device which uses compression and decompression of gas to heat and/or cool a house.
High Voltage System - See Electricity.
Hip Roof - A pitched roof with sloping sides.
HVAC - Heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
Ice Dam - A condition which can occur with snow and freezing conditions. When snow or ice melts on a roof over a heated or partially heated attic space, the melting water may refreeze over an unheated areas such as a roof overhang. This re-frozen water may create a "dam" and allow additional melt water to back up under shingles and cause leaks (Illustration "A"). Solutions include: proper roof venting and insulation (Illustration "B"), membrane roofing or roofing underlayment, and heat tapes. Once an ice dam occurs, remedies are difficult and or dangerous. Working on a frozen roof should be avoided, as should the use of any open flames. The use of hot water to melt the ice may help, it may also increase the amount of leakage.
Inset Staple - Stapling to the inside portion of the stud or rafter.
Insulated Ceiling (I.C.) - Marking on recessed lighting fixture indicating that it is designed for direct insulation contact.
Insulation Density - Denser insulation products have more fibers per square inch and, therefore, give you greater insulating power through higher R-values.
Interior Finish - Material used to cover the interior framed areas of walls and ceilings.
Joist - Part of the framing that provides the structure for a floor. In most homes, floor joists are made of 2x8s or larger lumber set on edge and spaced 16 inches apart, from center to center.
Knee Wall - A wall-like structure that supports roof rafters.
Kraft-Faced Vapor Retarder - Created by coating kraft paper with a thin layer of asphalt adhesive. The coated side of the kraft paper is then applied to the unfaced insulation material. The asphalt adhesive bonds the kraft paper and the insulation together.
KS - Knee space in a cabinet or under a desk.
Lanai - A porch-like room or open-sided living room.
Landing - A platform between flights of stairs or at the termination of a flight of stairs. Often used when stairs change direction. Normally no less than 3 ft. X 3 ft. square.
Lap Siding - Slightly wedge-shaped boards used as horizontal siding in a lapped pattern over the exterior sheathing. Varies in butt thickness from ½ to ¾ inch and in widths up to 12".
Lath and Plaster - The most common wall finish prior to the introduction of drywall. Thin wood strips (lath) were nailed onto the framing as a base for the sand/lime plaster (see diagram).
Living Square Footage - See Square Footage, Living
Load-Bearing Point - A point where a bearing or structural weight is concentrated and transferred to the foundation.
Load-Bearing Wall - Includes all exterior walls and any interior wall that is aligned above a support beam or girder. Normally, any wall that has a double horizontal top plate.
Low-Voltage System - Provides security, entertainment, communications, environmental control, networking, and other functions generally powered by a signal cable, phone line or data cable. Is not typically metered.
Metal Flue - A metal channel through which hot air, gas, steam or smoke may pass.
Metal Insulation Support - 16" or 24" wire rod or crisscrossed wire to hold floor insulation in place.
Mirror Reverse -Mirror reversed plans show the design flipped 180 degrees just like looking at it reflected in a mirror. Keep in mind that all of the text will be flipped too. The fee allows you to have one or more sets shipped in mirror reverse format. We recommend having at least one regular set handy.
MIRAFLEX® Fiber - A revolutionary soft-to-the-touch glass fiber insulation developed by Owens Corning for easier handling and installation. In addition to its virtually itch-free characteristic, insulation with Miraflex® has extraordinary resiliency allowing it to be packaged in more convenient, ultra-compact rolls.
Monolithic Slab - A slab foundation that is part of the footings.
Mullion - A vertical piece of stone, metal, or wood that divides the panes of a window, the panels of a screen or the doors of a cabinet.
Niche - A recess in a wall, usually designed to contain ornamental statues or other decorations.
Nonbearing Wall - A wall supporting no load other than its own weight.
Noncombustible - The material will not burn. The glass fibers in PINK fiber glass insulation have a natural fire resistance, and are considered non-combustible when tested in accordance to ASTM E136.
Overhang - Part of the roof that hangs over the wall.
Palladian Window - One larger window with a circle top window above and usually has two smaller, rectangular windows on each side.
Parging - A rough coat of mortar applied over a masonry wall as protection or finish; may also serve as a base for an asphaltic waterproofing compound below grade.
Particle Board - Plywood substitute made of course sawdust that is mixed with resin and pressed into sheets. Used for closet shelving, floor underlayment, stair treads, etc.
Partition - A wall that subdivides spaces within any story of a building or room.
Patio - An interior courtyard or a paved backyard area.
Pilaster - A projection or the foundation wall used to support a floor girder or stiffen the wall.
Pitch - The angle of slope of a roof.
Plant Shelf - A decorative feature approximately 8 feet above the floor, normally associated with volume ceilings that add high spaces/shelves to use for decorative purposes.
Plates - Pieces of wood placed on wall surfaces as fastening devices. The bottom member of the wall is the sole plate and the top member is the rafter plate.
Plenum - A chamber which can serve as a distribution area for heating or cooling systems, generally between a false ceiling and the actual ceiling.
Plot Plan - An overhead view plan that shows the location of the home on the lot. Includes all easements, property lines, set backs, and legal descriptions of the home. Provided by the surveyor.
Pointing - Treatment of joints in masonry by filling with mortar to improve appearance or protect against weather.
Poly-Wrap - Polyethylene wrap that encloses Owens Corning MIRAFLEX® insulation, making it comfortable to touch, less likely to itch and irritate, and easier to handle and install. The poly wrap has tiny perforations that allow the insulation to breathe and resist the collection of moisture within the wrap.
Polyethylene Vapor Barrier - Plastic film used to prevent moisture from passing through unfaced insulation. Both 4- and 6-mil polyethylene are preferred because they are less likely to be damaged during construction.
Porte-cochere - A carriage entrance leading through a building or wall into an inner courtyard. Also, a roofed structure covering a driveway at the entrance of a building to provide shelter while entering or leaving a vehicle.
Portico - A portico (Latin) is a roofed area, open to the air on one or more sides, typically supported on one side by the facade of a building and on the remaining sides by columns or arches. Porticos are common on Federal, Early Classical Revival, Greek Revival, and other houses of the 18th and 19th centuries. The English word porch is derived from portico, and is approximately synonymous.
Post-And-Beam - Wall construction in which beams are supported by heavy posts rather than many smaller studs.
Punch List - A list of discrepancies that need to be corrected by the contractor.
Quarry Tile - A man-made or machine-made clay tile used to finish a floor or wall. Generally 6" X 6" X 1/4" thick.
Quarter Round - A small trim molding that has the cross section of a quarter circle.
R Value -A measure of insulation. A measure of a material's resistance to the passage of heat. The higher the R value, the more insulating "power" it has. For example, typical new home's walls are usually insulated with 4" of batt insulation with an R value of R-13, and a ceiling insulation of R-30.
Rabbet - A groove cut in a board to receive another board.
Radiant Barrier - A radiant barrier is a reflective surface, on or near a building component, that intercepts the flow of radiant energy to and from the building component.
Radiant Barrier System - A Radiant Barrier System (RBS) is a building section that includes a radiant barrier facing an air space.
Radiant Heat - A heating system which uses hot water, steam pipes or electric resistance coils to heat the floors, walls or the ceilings of a room.
Radiation - Radiation is the transfer of heat or energy from a hot surface to a cold surface through air or through a vacuum.
Radius Window - A window with an arched top.
Rafter - One of a series of beams that form the slope of a pitched roof and are analogous to floor joists.
Rake - Refers to the slope of the roof at the end of a gable, where the outside part of the overhang forms an upside down V.
Rebar - Ribbed steel bars installed in foundation concrete walls, footers, and poured in place concrete structures designed to strengthen concrete. Comes in various thickness' and strength grade.
Red-Lined Prints - Blueprints that reflect changes and that are marked with red pencil.
Redline - See Red-Lined Prints
Reflectance - Reflectance refers to the fraction of incoming radiant energy that is reflected from the surface.
Reflective Insulation System - Reflective Insulation System is formed by a combination of low emittance surfaces and air spaces that provide reflective cavities, which have low levels of radiant energy transmission.
Reinforcing Bar - See Rebar
Resilient Channels - Metal channels used to further inhibit sound transmission through wall and ceiling framing. Create a break in the vibration path from drywall to the framing.
Ridge Board - A horizontal board that serves as the apex of the roof structure.
Ridge Vent - A vent mounted along the entire ridge line of the roof to allow the passage of air through the attic or cathedral ceiling.
Right Reading Reverse Fee -Right reading reverse plans show the design flipped 180 degrees with all of the text reading normally. When you choose this option, we ship each set of purchased blueprints in this format.
Riser - Vertical boards between the steps of a stairway.
Roof Valley - The "V" created where two sloping roofs meet.
Roof Vent - A louver or small dome mounted near the ridge of the roof to allow the passage of air through the attic.
Scotia - A concave molding.
Seepage Pit - A sewage disposal system composed of a septic tank and a connected cesspool.
Septic Tank - A sewage settling tank in which part of the sewage is converted into gas and sludge before the remaining waste is discharged by gravity into a leaching bed underground.
Shed Roof - A roof that pitches up further on one side than the other. Shed roofs are also used over some porches.
Shim - Thin tapered piece of wood used for leveling or tightening a stair or other building element.
Sidelight - A vertical window beside a door or another window.
Siding - See Lap Siding
Slab Foundation - For a slab foundation, the site is leveled off, and a trench is dug around the perimeter of the home site. Gravel is then spread across the site, and concrete is poured approximately four inches thick over wire mesh and a moisture barrier. In areas of load bearing walls, trenches need to be dug to allow for additional thickness at this location. Slab foundations have no piers or floor joists, and the concrete slab is the floor system.
Sleeper - Strip of wood laid over concrete floor to which the finished wood floor is nailed or glued.
Soffit - The underside of the roof overhang or porch ceiling that covers the rafter bottoms. This horizontal surface usually has vents to allow air into the attic.
Sole Plate - See Bottom Plate.
Square Footage, Living - The square footage in a home that is heated and/or cooled. The space occupied by two-story rooms and stairwells is counted once in the lower floor's square footage. Living square footage does not include garages, bonus rooms, or porches unless otherwise noted.
Stapling Flange - A protruding edge on faced insulation used to staple the insulation to the framing.
Stick-Built Home - A house built without prefabricated parts. Also called conventional building.
Stringer - A long, horizontal member which connects uprights in a frame or supports a floor or the like. One of the enclosed sides of a stair supporting the treads and risers.
Stud - An upright piece of lumber or steel in a wall, to which panels, siding, drywall, or other coverings are attached.
Subfloor - The structural material that spans across floor joists. It serves as a working platform during construction and provides a base for the finish floor.
Sump - A pit in the basement in which water collects to be pumped out with a sump pump.
Take Off - The list of materials necessary to complete a job.
Top Plate - The horizontal member nailed to the top of the studding of a wall.
Transom - A small hinged window directly above a door.
Trap - A "trap" is a triangular window whose top edge follows the pitch of the roof. It is a four sided window but the top edge of the window is angled.
Tray Ceiling - A decorative ceiling treatment used to add volume and/or height to a room. 2 Common types are: 1) Angled area toward the center leading to a flat ceiling surface, and 2) Stepped square edged leading toward the center of the ceiling.
Tread - The flat part of a stair step.
Trombe Wall - A passive solar wall, usually masonry or concrete, used for passing heat from one room (like a sun room or solar garden room) to another.
Truss -A prefabricated framework of girders, struts and other items used to support a roof or other load-bearing elements.
Turnkey - A term used when the subcontractor provides all materials (and labor) for a job.
Un-faced Insulation - Insulation with no attached vapor retarder.
Vapor Retarder - Helps control the amount of moisture passing through the insulation and collecting inside exterior walls, ceilings and floors.
Vaulted Ceiling - A ceiling that angles upward on one or both sides to create volume in the room.
Veneer - Extremely thin sheets of wood. Also a thin slice of wood or brick or stone covering a framed wall.
Ventilation - Creates a positive flow of air that allows the house to "breathe" and helps prevent moisture build-up year-round.
Wafer Board - A manufactured wood panel made out of 1"- 2" wood chips and glue. Often used as a substitute for plywood in the exterior wall and roof sheathing.
Walk Through - A final inspection of a home before "closing" to look for and document problems that need to be corrected.
Wall Out - When a painter spray paints the interior of a home.
Widow's Walk - A platform with a rail around it, built onto the roof of a house. The platform is accessible by stairs or a ladder from the interior of the house. See Plan #10433 for an example.
Window Buck - Square or rectangular box that is installed within a concrete foundation or block wall. A window will eventually be installed in this "buck" during the siding stage of construction.
Window Sash - The operating or movable part of a window; the sash is made of window panes and their border.
Wire Nut - A plastic device used to connect bare wires together.
Y - A "Y" shaped plumbing fitting.
Yard of Concrete - One cubic yard of concrete is 3' x 3' x 3' in volume, or 27 cubic feet. One cubic yard of concrete will pour 80 square feet of 3 ½" sidewalk or basement/garage floor.
Yoke - The location where a home's water meter is sometimes installed between two copper pipes, and located in the water meter pit in the yard.
Z-Bar Flashing - Bent, galvanized metal flashing that is installed above a horizontal trim board of an exterior window, door, or brick run. It prevents water from getting behind the trim/brick and into the home.
Zero-lot line - The positioning of a house near or on top of the lot boundary, resulting in little or no space between houses.
Zone - The section of a building that is served by one heating or cooling loop because it has noticeably distinct heating or cooling needs. Also, the section of property that will be watered from a lawn sprinkler system.
Zone Valve -A device, usually placed near the heater or cooler, which controls the flow of water or steam to parts of the building; it is controlled by a zone thermostat.
Zoning - A governmental process and specification which limits the use of a property e.g. single family use, high-rise residential use, industrial use, etc. Zoning laws may limit where you can locate a structure. Also see Building Code.